Friday, September 26, 2014

I rank The Cosby Show theme songs

Thirty years ago (!!!!) this month, The Cosby Show premiered on NBC. It aired on Thursdays until 1992 so it was "Must See TV" before "Must See TV" was a thing. (Remember that?) I watched this show when I was younger. I have not seen it in AGES so I don't remember any episodes except the one where Rudy (she was my favorite because she was my age) and her chubby friend are hungry and want to make something to eat (and I'm sure Vanessa was probably baby-sitting them, but was too busy talking on the phone to make them something), so they get out the blender and just make a huge mess in the kitchen and Rudy gets a scolding, then a hug from her mother. Now I could be totally making this up as, like I said, I've not seen an episode of this show in forever but I swear that was an episode!

Anyway, this show used the same song for its theme song, but it had different title openings and a different version of the song for each season (well, two seasons shared the same theme song), so I thought it would be fun to rank them. I'll start with my least favorite and work my way up to my favorite. Here we go!

7. Season 1, 1984

So in all the opening sequences except for this one, all the actors dance (we know how the Huxtables love to sing and dance...remember that show they put on for their grandparent's anniversary? - Hey, that's another episode I remember!) This is also the only opening sequence where it's photographs of the actors in different action shots. It reminds me of the first season opening titles of Beverly Hills, 90210 where those were so different from the ones that were to come. Here we see the Huxtables enjoying a day at the park. It's kinda boring. And it's so '80s. Notice that Phylicia (I could have sworn it was Felica!) Rashad is Phylicia Ayers-Allen. Also notice Sondra is not here but she was a recurring character the first season because I think her character was thrown in as an afterthought. 

6. Season 8, 1991

I went from the first season to the last! It's weird because while I remember the other opening titles, this one, not so much. Apparently they didn't use it for the entirety of the last season because there was some kind of legal dispute with the mural that is used in the background. The mural is very cool, but I prefer the clean, solid color background they often use. I read another ranking of theme songs (I'm not the only one to do this) and the person, who ranked this dead last on their list, said this was the most dated of the opening titles and I have to agree. Especially if you look at their clothes. Yikes! What is Vanessa wearing? And WTF is Raven Symone wearing? And since when did Theo get glasses? I never remember him wearing glasses! That said, I kinda love Sondra's outfit. And who is that woman at the end? I don't remember her at all! It's crazy to see how much older Vanessa and Rudy look compared to the other opening titles.

5. Season 2, 1985

This is when they began their dancing and the following opening titles would follow this format. Much better than the season 1 format! Notice that Phylicia Rashad is not yet Phylicia Rashad, but I believe she will become Phylicia Radshad during this season. I like Theo's dancing the best. I like the "are you serious" face Vanessa makes. Her sweater and Cosby's look like they came from the same designer! Nothing really stands out in this opening title so that's why I put it towards the bottom.

4. Season 4, 1987

This version was done by Bobby McFerrin and I'm not a huge fan of it. I like Sondra's dress, but she is totally wearing the wrong shoes for it! She should be in heels! Vanessa looks like a flight attendant with that hat. The end with Cosby holding up a picture of Lisa Bonet was interesting. I know she left the show for awhile, but maybe she was a recurring character so that was to remind us that she was still around? IDK. The things that do make this middle-of-the-road opening titles not be at the bottom is Theo checking his watch, Vanessa's mouthed "Dad!" exclamation, Claire's dress, and Cosby's top hat...because a top hat always makes everything better! Oh, and the last note.

3. Season 5, 1988

This is the most interesting as it's the only one where all the actors are dancing together instead of each getting a turn with Cosby. Now if I were an actor on this show, I would not be happy because my name would appear when everyone is in the same shot so nobody would know who you were (good thing they did this in season 5, I guess!) unless they knew which actor played which character. I do love the thematic music and dance number. The Caribbean style and backdrop is a little odd since the show took place in New York...I don't think they ever went on an island vacation! But it's something different and you gotta give them props for that. 

2. Season 3, 1986

 I'm not the biggest fan of Latin music (don't listen to it that much (or at all) to be honest), but in this case it works and I like it. The dancing isn't anything too impressive, but once again, I love Vanessa's "are you serious" face to Cosby's dancing. She has the best reactions. And I swear, I had a dress just like the one Rudy wore in this! And I like how Cosby kicks his leg over her because she's so small. The music alone puts this in the top 2. 

1. Seasons 6 and 7, 1989 and 1990

Even the show agrees with me that this is the best opening sequence as they used it for two seasons instead of only one! It's very sleek and smooth. Everyone has had four years to prefect their dancing and it shows. Well, maybe not Sondra because she dances exactly like me! Lisa Bonet is working it with those pants. Theo and Rudy have some awesome moves, but it's Vanessa who's killing it! Vanessa, the one who's always too cool to dance! Who knew that girl had some moves in her? And love the end where Cosby says, "This is the best elevator music I've ever heard." 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my ranking of The Cosby Show opening credits!

So I found that episode I was talking about earlier on YouTube. It's from season 2 and it's a juicer, not a blender that Rudy, and her friend Peter (who was chubbier than I remember!) use to make a snack. I was right that Vanessa was watching them (and was on the phone - I have an awesome memory), but Cliff was home (he was talking to a maintenance guy about a water stain in his office) and so were Theo and Denise (they were outside). Claire was the only one who wasn't home because she had gone to the post office. Rudy and Peter are bored and Vanessa tells them to go make a snack so they decide to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but there's no jelly so Rudy decides to use the juicer to make the jelly and puts grapes in it. Now I remember the mess that is made being much more massive than it actually was. Rudy didn't get a scolding to by her mother (that was Vanessa for not keeping an eye on the kids), but she did get a lecture about using appliances while getting a hug from her mother. 

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